This world keeps changing… To wit: people have taken advantage of the internet to advertise their products, sell them, and even receive feedback from the market concerning the product. Every company that owns a website has some sort of feedback engine. The most effective tends to be the review section. People who have purchased goods come to this section to communicate their views concerning their satisfaction levels. Companies then use this feedback to improve their delivery of goods and services.
However, these reviews can also have their own disadvantages. There is a group of people who write reviews to spoil or degrade the image of some companies. For instance, a person who has a wrong perception of pillows could end up writing a Snoreless pillow review that is negative. When new buyers read such a review, they completely lose confidence in the product, despite the good reviews. The reviews written by uninformed people can also end up offering the wrong perception to potential buyers. Wrong information could also be passed across through such reviews. Remember, information which is displayed on the internet can be accessed by any kind of person. This information is spread far and wide. It is therefore important for companies to be careful about the kind of reviews written about them.
About The Snoreless Pillow’s Reputation
The Snoreless pillow is one that has specially been designed to help you solve snoring problems. Snoreless pillows have been all over the market for a long time now. More people are opting for this kind of pillow since they are affordable and a consistent use of it can completely heal this condition. According to the many Snoreless pillow reviews, people who use these pillows realize a change in less than one month. Most of them say that these pillows have helped them to sleep in the right position and cut snoring markedly.
Snoreless pillows are also known for their high quality level. They are also very effective in attracting more and more customers over the years. One must also note that this pillow has received various consumer awards for being very comfortable and effective. However, before you buy one, you must ensure to get a prescription from your physician.
The pillows have not only been used for snoring, but also for sleep apnea problems. Most people who have used them have not only registered better relationships, but also more rest. They have registered a significant improvement weeks after their use, which is certainly pretty fantastic.
It is imperative to note that you can stop panic attacks through the right therapy. Many people have ill beliefs that you cannot stop panic attacks through treatment but it is possible to do so. Panic attacks just take effects on our body like any other physical medical problem so most people may confuse a panic attack with a common ailment or disease. Lack of the know-how may make the entire process on how to stop panic attacks so hard if not complicated. If the right kind of therapy is conducted on the person with the panic attack, then you can confidently stop panic attacks without any complications.
Many people always go wrong on the process of how to stop panic attacks for they believe there is medication to help stop panic attacks. This is wrong for the disorders that come with the panic attacks are the ones that are treatable. To stop panic attacks you can undergo therapy and get to stop panic attacks minus the medication. Some of the medication used hinders the full recovery of the person suffering from a panic attack. Getting the facts wrong has made most people not fully recover and stop panic attacks which would have been stopped so easily.
What You Should Know To Avoid Panic Attacks
The panic attacks are divided in two major groups. Situational panic attacks and unexpected panic attacks. The situational panic attacks are enhanced by certain scenarios while on the other hand the unexpected panic attacks are presumed to come from no where in particular. To stop panic attacks one needs to move or drift away from the thought the first case of situational panic, you tend to be attacked by the panic when in a situation that you are not used to while on the unexpected panic you are just overwhelmed by panic for no apparent reason. To stop panic attacks one needs to get what caused it.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is Psychotherapy and it has been proven to be very effective when it comes to stop panic attacks and all other anxiety related disorders. More rapid results base on how to stop panic attacks can be achieved when you work with a cognitive behavioral therapist .It is worth noting that the best results from this method of how to stop panic attacks is achieved on those who have severe anxiety disorders. One needs to have a lot of information on panic attacks and how to stop panic attacks in order not to mis interpreted the symptoms and end up giving the wrong directions. Read about how to prevent panic attacks here.
Basics In Control Panic Attacks
Usually, when a person starts to panic, the reaction of the others would be to belittle what he or she is feeling. You might just say that he or she is just overreacting. But mind you, that is not a joke. You must take seriously everything he or she is feeling because it is subjective in nature. And instead of making fun at him or her, you can do something if you try to stop panic attacks. If you can see him or her doing very rapid and shallow breathing, look for a paper bag for him to breathe in. If he or she feels numbness or tingling sensations in her extremities, reassure him or her that it is brought about by the rapid breathing and will subside once he or she can manage to breathe normally. If he or she is feeling dizzy or lightheaded, then assist him or her into taking a seat or lying down. But most of all, you must not leave him or her alone. Give reassurance that everything is under control and you are there to help stop panic attacks. By just these simple yet helpful tips, you can actually stop panic attacks. These do not require training but rather presence of mind and keeping yourself calm. Just make sure that when you see one going into a state of panic, you do not go into panic as well!
Getting a panic attack can be a horrifying experience for one. A full blown panic attack can bring in a feeling of anxiety which comes with very horrifying events. Panic attacks are not well understood by the people and if not well understood, how to stop panic attacks becomes quite an issue’s of the people do not know what way forward as well as what steps to take in order to curb such an abnormally. Panic attacks are a common thing and despite having to encounter them in our day to day’s activities the ways and means of dealing with panic attacks and how to stop panic attacks in general is still a mystery to many.
To be able to stop panic attacks it is imperative to have the basic facts on them at hand. First and foremost, it is imperative to note that panic attacks are not dangerous. The reason as to why panic attacks look dangerous is that they engage the emergency system on the brain which will most often than not tell us that we are in great danger. It is important that we note it can be a fake alarm so to stop panic attacks can be really easy.
Panic Attacks Are Not Normal
“It is normal to feel a little amount of anxiety in our life just to keep our sympathetic nervous system going. In fact, mild anxiety is good. It widens your senses and keeps you focused. But when anxiety goes to severe, then that is already a different story. It is like you are experiencing a panic attack. Now you might wonder what the cardinal signs of a panic attack are. This is very important for you to note if you want to stop panic attacks. Some signs of such are light headedness, palpitations, hyperventilation, chest pain, a feeling of choking, hot flashes, numbness or tingling sensations and a lot more. There is a panic attack and there is a panic disorder. For people without the necessary license, you can say that it is a panic attack but it is only the specialist who can diagnose a panic disorder. But still, you need to know how to stop panic attacks because you will never know when you meet someone in severe anxiety and there is no doctor around to help. How to stop panic attacks when you are not trained is easy to remember. First is to get the stimulus away if possible, and then give a paper bag for him to breathe in, and give reassurance that he is okay. As easy as that, you can already be a big help.
Things To Do In The Struggle To Stop Panic Attacks
A panic attack is the scariest dream that a person who has suffered from it can have. The main problem for people is that they worry about the when the next attack is to occur. This worry preoccupies their lives so that they even cannot go ahead with normal duties due to this anxiety. There are a number of things that you can keep away from to make your drive to stop panic attacks more successful.
You need to avoid things that can trigger an attack. Caffeine and cigarettes have been known to be factors that can lead to an attack and therefore if you are trying to break free, you are better off avoiding them. You also need to learn the language that your body understands best. This will help you know the best ways that you can use to relax. This is necessary because a main reason why people experience these attacks is that they feel anxious. When you teach your body how to relax, you are preparing yourself to defeat the panic attacks. To stop panic attacks, you also need to learn a lot about it. This means that you will need to be equipped with all the knowledge concerning the problem if you are to easily defeat it.
The environment has been a hot topic ever since the fertile forests of the Sahara were logged by the Ancient Egyptians. In more recent years, however, our awareness of environmental issues has increased and, with it, an interest in “green” writing.
Magazines started going green about six years ago. Everyone wants to do their bit for the environment, whether they read Travel & Leisure (there’s a growing interest in ecologically sound vacations), Parenting (where better to discuss the future of the planet?) or Good Housekeeping (you’ve probably read several green household hints).
The style of green writing that magazines want is evolving. Green household hints, for instance, have been done to death in the past few years. If you want to do your bit for the environment, look for other topics. “The fervent issues have moved on,” says Matt Haddon, an editor for England’s Green Magazine. “People no longer have as much interest in the consumer stories – the glib `Buy this washing powder and save the world’ articles – as they do in the major issues affecting the world.”
But skip articles about logging the Amazon rain forests, the evils of gasoline fumes, throwaway plastics, drift-net fishing, nuclear power and aerosols. Above all, forget those doom-laden prophecies of what will happen to the world if we don’t change our ways. These articles, too, have already been published – many times.
There are many other things to discuss. You’ve heard about the Amazon. What about the comparable forest problems in Malaysia, Indonesia … and Ontario? You know about the dangers of aerosols, spraying CFCs into the ozone layer. Do you know how many CFCs were used to make your computer?
Whatever you write about, make sure it’s accurate – the environment is one of the major victims of misinformation. For example, some people still believe that the greenhouse effect is caused by the hole in the ozone layer.
Here are some tips for powerful, effective environmental writing:
* Make the right contacts. Many big stories begin as local issues; your own area might be the best place to start looking. Most towns have at least one environmental group watching local conservation issues. Otherwise, look up your nearest Greenpeace or Friends of the Earth office.
Electronic mail is another good resource. I use EarthNet, a global mail system of environment, peace, human rights and other groups. The system is inexpensive, and used by environmentalists around the world. Call the Institute for Global Communications at 415/442-0220.
* Present an image. One problem with environmental problems, of course, is that they happen gradually. Generally, people (editors included) are interested in action stories.
It’s the sudden disasters – Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Exxon-Valdez – that cause emotions to flow. For stories on slower-acting environmental destruction, look for effects readers can recognize. The ozone hole was discovered in 1973, but wasn’t given serious coverage until the mid-1980s, when the wildlife of Antarctica started to feel its effects. It was those images – presented in text or photos – that made the world notice.
* Act locally. “Think globally. Act locally” is a popular motto of the green movement – and a good way to present an article. Gerald Stone, an Australian TV news producer, once suggested that environmental journalism required a personal approach. “The best way to interest people is to take one person who is devoting or risking his life to save a small part of the environment.”
* Offer both sides of the issue. A criticism often leveled at environmental magazines is that they discuss the problems caused by politicians, big business, whomever, while ignoring the views of those groups. Not only is it fair play to present both sides of a story, it also adds to your credibility.
* Analyze the political and economic sides of an issue. Many environmental stories simply don’t make sense. “If things are so bad, why do we still allow them to happen?” Often, there are industrial or financial reasons behind this. This should be no secret to you, but it’s news to surprisingly many people. Write about it.
* Present alternative solution. One reason people ignore environmental problems is that they really don’t wish to be reminded of the doom and gloom. In 1989, everything about the environment was hot. In 1995, there’s a new challenge in green writing; editors – like readers – prefer optimistic glimpses of the future. Show that the situation is serious, but not without hope, and suggest how the average reader can help. To paraphrase several conservationists and activists: The environment begins with you!
Sierra is one of the pioneer environment magazines, published since 1893. This bimonthly maintains “less emphasis on lifestyle issues [such as recycling] than on political action and public policy. Our dream article would show how progress is being made toward solving an environmental problem that the mainstream media either dismiss as trivial or refuse to recognize as a problem that can be solved,” says editor in chief Jonathan King.
Recent articles include “Toxics on the Home Front” and “Greens Fees” (about the environmental damage caused by golf courses), The magazine also occasionally dips into the world of politics. In 1992, it compared the green policies of candidates Bush and Clinton.
Terms: Pays $1,000-$2,500 per feature and $500-$750 per department article, on acceptance, for first North American serial rights. Submissions: Query with clips to King. Responds in 1-2 months.
Audubon, a bimonthly for the National Audubon Society, has also published for more than a century. Editors want “balanced reporting on environmental issues and events in North America and abroad; analyses of events, policies and issues from fresh points of view.” This can take any form – from humor to essays to investigative reporting (up to 4,000 words) – and it doesn’t hurt to dwell on politics. Recent issues surveyed industrial problems (and poorly paid labor) along the Mexican border, as well as the great forests of the Eastern US.
“We like a story that relates to people,” says features editor Bruce Stutz. “We like to see that you’ve” written about a subject, not a news story.” This magazine is also renowned for its photography, so query with photo ideas. One way to break in is the Reports department (items of 500-1,200 words).
Terms: Pays $1 per word, on acceptance, for first North American serial rights. Submissions: Query with clips (or photo ideas) to Mary Beacon Bowers, editor. Responds in 1-2 months. Guidelines and sample copy for $4 with 9 x 12 SAE and 10 first-class stamps.
Earthwatch is the bimonthly magazine of the Earthwatch Institute, a global organization that sponsors 130 environmental expeditions each year. The magazine is interested in topics related to these expeditions – everything from preserving bush wildlife in Zimbabwe, to examining the copper mines of County Kerry in Ireland.
Editors don’t limit themselves to these subjects, however. Past articles include “The Battle With Cattle” (about the ecological destruction caused by livestock) and “The Greening of China.”
Terms: Pays $500-$1,500 for features of 3,5004,000 words; $150 for departments of 1,200 words. Buys first North American serial rights. Submissions: Query Mark Cherrington, editor. Responds in up to 6 weeks.
Outdoor America, a quarterly, covers the environment and natural resource conservation, as well as outdoor sports and recreation. Established in 1922, it’s published for members of the Izaak Walton League.
Editors seek investigative pieces of 900-2,500 words on issues of national relevance, such as water and soil pollution and threats to wildlife habitats. They prefer to work with established writers. This is a good market for previously published articles, provided the audience overlap is minimal.
Terms: Pays 20[cents] a word, half on acceptance and half on publication, for first North American serial rights. Pays 10[cents] per word for reprints. Submissions: Query Michael E. Diegel, editor. Responds in 1 month.
American Forests, a bimonthly, was established in 1875. It’s published by the American Forestry Association, a citizens’ organization advocating “intelligent management and use of our forests, soil, water, wildlife and all other natural resources necessary for an environment of high quality.”
Despite its title, the magazine is primarily about trees – whether in forests, in cities or in the country. It has covered backpacking in old-growth forests, protecting historic trees on battlefields, urban greening and urban conservation activists.
Terms: Pays $300-$700, on acceptance, for one-time rights to articles of 2,000 words. Submissions: Query Bill Rooney, editor. State photo availability. Responds in 3 months.
The Amicus Journal is a quarterly magazine covering environmental policies, “particularly those relating to policies of national and international significance.” Editors want “offbeat and daring pieces.” The audience is generally well-educated on environmental matters.
According to managing editor Beth Hanson, each issue includes at least one international story, one story from Washington, and an article about the spiritual side – how the environment has been incorporated in different religions.
The magazine buys 25 features (200-1,500 words) a year, but other departments – Articles (“in-depth reporting on issues and personalities”), Book Reviews (500-1,000 words), and News and Comment – are also open to freelancers. State photo availability (contact sheets, negatives, transparencies and 8 x 10 prints) with your submission. Environmental poetry is also welcome.
Terms: Pay is negotiable ($100 and up). Pays on acceptance for first North American serial rights. Pays $25 for poetry. Sometimes pays expenses for writers on assignment. Submissions: Query with clips to Kathrin Day Cassila, editor. Sends poetry to Brian Swann. Responds in 6 weeks.
National Wildlife, established in 1963, is a bimonthly published by the National Wildlife Federation. “Our purpose is to promote wise use to the nation’s natural resources and to conserve and protect wildlife and its habitat. We reach a broad audience that’s largely interested in wildlife conservation.”
The magazine buys 60 features (2,500-3,000 words) and 12 department articles (1,000-2,000 words) per year. Past features have ranged from “Is This the Oldest Living Thing?” (about the bristlecone pine) to “The Caviar Connection” (about a California caviar farm). Writers are encouraged to break in with one- or two-page articles.
So the kids are right. In some places, we have a national mess on our hands. (Try to get into Yosemite on July 4th weekend.) But all is not lost, as you’ll see by the inspiring comments scattered throughout this story. Some of these youngsters possess the insight and determination, even at such a young age, that if carried into adulthood will make a huge difference in the state of our national wild lands.
In the meantime, we “oldsters” can do our part and lead these children by example. What follows is a list of places that could and should be the next national parks. Besides their ecological and aesthetic significance, these places will help our offspring, and their grandchildren, have a better understanding of the vast natural riches that over centuries have defined who we are as Americans. Our candidates are extracted from an NPCA list of 46 possibilities, and all nine also happen to boast impressive backpacking and paddling opportunities. (So who says we can’t be a little selfish?)
Flood your congressional representatives with letters, e-mail, and phone calls, stressing your deep desire to see these places made into parks. (Some are on the brink of designation as is). Make this wish list a gift to the next generation, and the ones still to come. We may not be able to get all these places designated national parks in our lifetime, but at least we can take comfort in knowing we’ve laid the ground-work for our kids, or to put it in terms they’ll appreciate, done the homework for them.
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge ALASKA
Encompassing a whopping 19.6 million acres in remote northeast Alaska, ANWR is the largest National Wildlife Refuge System unit, home to 150,000 caribou, and the migratory end-point for millions of birds. It’s also prime habitat for polar bears, musk oxen, wolves, foxes, and moose, to name a few of the resident mammals. From the ice and rock monoliths of the Brooks Range, to a lattice-work of rivers that swell with snow melt, to the moist coastal plain, ANWR is an immense mosaic of biological and geological diversity. So much so that NPCA recently labeled the region the largest undisturbed ecosystem in the United States. (For more on ANWR see the upcoming February special issue on Alaska.)
STATUS: Half is protected through the federal Wilderness Preservation System, but Congress left open to oil and gas development the coastal plain, the ecological heart of ANWR where caribou calve and migratory birds nest. Although the drilling threat has existed for years, it has been thwarted so far by conservationists and poor market conditions. But oil and gas companies have recently renewed their quest to drill in the area, in light of a U.S. Geological Survey study that says while no single, huge reserve exists, numerous small pockets could be developed. To reach these tiny and questionable islands of energy, hundreds of miles of roads and pipelines would be constructed across ANWR’s sensitive coastal plain, which, according to U.S. Department of Interior spokesperson Stephanie Hannah, would “forever alter and ruin the refuge.”
THE PARK: National park status would forever eliminate the threat of drilling, and raise the possibility of creating an immense international preserve by linking ANWR with the adjoining North Yukon National Park in Canada.
Sonoran Desert ARIZONA
Ed Abbey called Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge and its surrounding arid lands the greatest intact desert wilderness in North America, and at 860,000 acres, it is one of the largest units in the National Wildlife Refuge System. Flanking the eastern boundary of Cabeza Prieta is the 330,000-acre Organ Pipe National Monument, and to the south across the Mexico border is the lava-sculpted moonscape of the Pinacate region, an International Biosphere Reserve. This vast stretch of undeveloped Sonoran Desert is easily one of the most remote regions in the Lower 48, dominated by towering saguaro cacti, tarantulas, gila monsters, and seven mountain ranges–a haven for solitude-seeking desert rats who don’t mind carrying a few gallons of water.
STATUS: Pilots from military bases in Phoenix and Yuma, Arizona, use the Cabeza Prieta Refuge (right next to the Barry Goldwater Bombing Range) as an aerial practice ground. In 2001, the Department of Defense and Department of the Interior agreement to use Cabeza Prieta air space will expire, and Congress will decide whether to renew it. Low level flights shatter the desert silence and negatively impact the wildlife, including the 200 or so last remaining endangered Sonoran pronghorn.
THE PARK: Since the mid-1960s Arizona conservationists have pushed for a Sonoran Desert International Park that would preserve 2 million acres of mostly roadless desert wilderness. Combining the unique geographic and ecological features of the Cabeza Prieta Refuge, Organ Pipe Monument, and Mexico’s Pinacate Preserve, the Sonoran Desert Park would be a truly unique addition to the Park System. And with national/international park status, low-flying aircraft would no longer corrupt the serenity of this amazing landscape.
Hells Canyon National Recreation Area OREGON/IDAHO
Because it’s the deepest water-carved gorge on the planet, plunging more than 8,000 feet from its rim to the Snake River, Hells Canyon alone merits park status. But there’s much more to this 652,000-acre national recreation area than the chasm. There are grass-carpeted plateaus, remote lakes, valleys filled with majestic forests and an extraordinarily diverse wildlife population ranging from rattlesnakes to moose. All the qualities that inspired frontier travelers to name it Hells Canyon a century ago make it a wilderness lover’s heaven today.
STATUS: In 1975 Congress created Hells Canyon National Recreation Area in the Wallawa-Whitman National Forest, putting an end to a 25-year hydropower industry effort to flood the canyon. But the Forest Service, which administers the NRA, has done little to preserve this natural wonder, allowing increasing logging, grazing, and use of motor boats on the Snake. According to NPCA’s Dave Simon, in Hells Canyon “things are slipping away.”
THE PARK: The grassroots Hells Canyon Preservation Council is trying to convince Congress to turn this national recreation area into Hells Canyon National Park. The group also wants the neighboring Wallowa Mountains included, so the entire ecosystem, an area half the size of Yellowstone, would be under the stewardship of the Park Service instead of the Forest Service. As a park Hells Canyon would no longer be subject to logging or grazing, and motor boat use would probably be restricted, if not stopped.
Baca Ranch/Jemez Mountains NEW MEXICO
The 95,000-acre tract known as Baca Ranch is rich in ecological and archaeological resources. From 11,254-foot-high Redondo Peak to the 15-mile-wide Valles Caldera (one of the world’s largest collapsed volcanoes), Baca Ranch is a prime example of the environmental extremes unique to the southern Rockies. Arid grasslands are home to New Mexico’s largest elk herd, the snow-capped Jemez Mountains tower above 10,000 feet, and within the Caldera’s massive depression are grassy valleys, forested lava domes and hot springs. Ancient Native American cliff dwellings grace deep-out canyon walls. The tract abuts the northern boundary of Bandelier National Monument, which harbors even more ancient Native sites.
STATUS: Baca Ranch, a long-time private inholding in the Santa Fe National Forest, is for sale. Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) introduced legislation (S. 1210) to allow the Forest Service to purchase all 95,000 acres for inclusion the Santa Fe National Forest. Meanwhile, President Clinton has requested that Congress approve a $40 million down payment on the Baca purchase. Otherwise, Baca Ranch may be sold to a developer, and public access to what NPCA has called the “Yellowstone of New Mexico” would be lost.
THE PARK: NPCA supports Forest Service acquisition of Baca Ranch, with the caveat that the Park Service manage ecologically and culturally significant areas in conjunction with neighboring Bandalier National Monument. Such a cooperative management arrangement would protect the important areas, and still provide limited grazing rights to area ranchers–a concession that must be granted, otherwise the deal doesn’t stand a chance. NPCA also wants Bandelier’s boundaries expanded to encompass vulnerable archaeological sites in adjoining Forest Service lands. If all goes as NPCA hopes, a new national park of some 150,000 acres (incorporating Bandelier) would result.
Atchafalaya River Basin LOUISIANA
The Atchafalaya River flows 140 miles from the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico. Through a natural “overflow system,” the lower portion of the river floods the Atchafalaya basin each spring, then drains in the fall, creating the largest remaining forested wetland in the United States. The process also creates a rare, ecologically rich 700,000-acre Gulf Coast wilderness. Unlike Florida’s Everglades ecosystem, which has suffered from canal dredging and development, the Atchafalaya swamp’s inaccessibility has left it, for the most part, environmentally intact. From giant cypress trees to alligators to a seemingly infinite variety of birds, the Atchafalaya is a classic example of a type of Gulf Coast swamp that has all but disappeared and is rarely represented in our park system.
STATUS: According to NPCA, nearly 40,000 acres of wetlands are lost each year in Louisiana–the largest amount in any state–predominately to agricultural and residential uses. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers efforts to channel the Atchafalaya have failed so far, and there’s still a push to turn portions of the swamp into farms. Timber harvesting and oil and gas development are also widespread in the basin. With the exception of the Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge and several state-owned preserves, the entire 700,000-acre wetland is privately held and subject to the whims of its individual owners.
THE PARK: The Park Service is studying the Atchafalaya River basin for possible designation. A Louisiana based coalition of federal, state and environmental interests is also working on a preservation plan to save the area. A national park of at least 100,000 acres could be created by purchasing several large tracts and incorporating existing public lands. The park would provide long-awaited public access to the vast swamp and offer recreational opportunities similar to those found in the Everglades: canoeing on wilderness waterways, some limited hiking, and bird watching until your eyes hurt.
Reports of the death of the book have been exaggerated, not least when it comes to science, writes Peter Tallack. Sales of popular science books – and advances paid to their authors – have reached heights unimaginable a decade ago. Such books may have more buyers than readers, but does it matter? In the past year or so there has been a bumper crop – proof of the public’s hunger for enlightenment.
Genetics continues to grip people’s imagination. Top of everyone’s list should be Steve Jones’ superb The Language of the Genes (Flamingo, 6.99 [pounds]), already a bestseller. This is by far the most witty, literate, informative and wide-ranging account of what our genes can and cannot tell us about our evolutionary past.. present and future, and an admirable winner of this year’s Science Book Prize.
Also worth delving into are Colin Tudge’s The Engineer in the Garden (Jonathan Cape, 17.99 [pounds]), a crisp and thoughtful introduction to the potential benefits and dangers of genetic engineering, and Robert Pollack’s Signs of Life (Viking, 16 [pounds]), a smoothly written look at the genetic revolution. And if you want to know what it is actually like to do science, then you can do no better than to read Walter Bodmer and Robin McKie’s The Book of Man (Little, Brown, 18.99 [pounds]) or William Cookson’s The Gene Hunters (Aurum, 16.95 [pounds]). with their tales of triumphs and failures at the frontiers of medical genetics.
The prospect of a Brave New World of genetically engineered monsters and monstrosities frightens people. but not nearly so much as plagues or epidemics, as witness the recent misguided hysteria over “flesh-eating bacteria”. Microbes. however, provide us with many benefits, as Bernard Dixon makes clear in Power Unseen (W H Freeman, 16.99 [pounds]), a series of 75 short essays on the gamut of bacteria, viruses, fungi and protozoa. But if you are of an anxious disposition, then you’ll probably prefer John Postgate’s The Outer Reaches of Life (Cambridge University Press, 16.95 [pounds]), which eschews the real nasties in favour of the microbes that dwell in what to us seem to be some of the harshest and most hostile places on Earth.
Microbes, it turns out, had a helping hand in the origin of sex. In The Red Queen (Viking, 17.99 [pounds]), Matt Ridley tackles the stimulating subjects of sex and sexual behaviour and their role in the evolution of human nature. Although his arguments are controversial and often speculative, he is careful to distinguish an “is” from an “ought”. Two other recent books cover this subject: Simon Le Vay’s The Sexual Brain (MIT Press, 14.95 [pounds]) and Robert Pool’s The New Sexual Revolution (Hodder and Stoughton, 9.99 [pounds[). But Ridley's is the most entertaining.
Whether Neanderthals were as preoccupied with sex as are their modern counterparts is another question. Virtually everything else one would want to know about these now-vanished people can be found in The Neandertals (sic) by Erik Trinkhaus and Pat Shipman (Cape, 20 [pounds]) and In Search of the Neanderthals by Christopher Stringer and Clive Gamble (Thames & Hudson, 18.95 [pounds]). Our own species is put squarely back into an evolutionary framework, by Henry Plotkin in The Nature of Knowledge (Allen Lane, 20 [pounds]), a cleverly argued work that draws analogies between Darwinian evolution, learning, the acquisition of knowledge and the transmission of human culture.
The battle between “biological” and “cultural” theories of human nature is also re-examined in The Chosen Primate (Harvard University Press, 22.25 [pounds]) by Adam Kuper, an anthropologist who writes with skill, clarity and charm. And in The Runaway Brain (HarperCollins, $18), a lively overview of human evolution, Christopher Wills makes the novel suggestion that the development of our big brains was an important driving force in the evolution of human uniqueness.
A key feature of our uniqueness is celebrated by Steven Pinker in The Language Instinct (Viking, 20 [pounds]). In this eminently readable and accomplished work, Pinker convincingly argues that language is an adaptation that evolved entirely through Darwinian natural selection, and explodes many cherished myths in the process.
The mind, if Francis Crick’s The Astonishing Hypothesis (Simon and Schuster, 16.99 [pounds]) is to be believed, is nothing more than the product of billions of nerve cells churning away inside our brains. His aim is to persuade readers that the mystery of the “soul” is a scientific problem that should be approached experimentally. His justification is that we already know a considerable amount about the biological basis of one aspect of consciousness: visual awareness. The ideas are provocative and Crick may well be right, but ultimately he fails to convince.
Medical anomalies can provide insights into the workings of the mind, as illustrated by two intriguing case-studies, both in the tradition of Oliver Sacks. In The Man Who Tasted Shapes (Abacus, 6.99 pounds]). Richard E Cytowic describes individuals who suffer from (or more often than not, enjoy) synesthesia, a rare condition in which the senses are mixed up – people literally see smells, taste symphonies and so on. By contrast, Russ Rymer’s Genie (Michael Joseph, 14.99 [pounds]) tells the moving and absorbing story of a in Los discovered in 1970 at the age of 13 in a Los Angeles suburb, where she had spent her entire childhood strapped in a chair in the back bedroom of a virtually silent house. Her emergence into the world caused great excitement – and much infighting – among linguists, educationalists and psychologists.
But what of normal people’s minds” If personalities can be shaped by chemicals, argues psychiatrist Peter Kramer in Listening to Prozac (Fourth Estate, 16.99 [pounds]), then serious questions must be asked about the nature of self. In 400 pages of anecdote and folksy psychobabble, Kramer sings the praises of the antidepressant Prozac and moots the possibility of “cosmetic psychopharmacolgy” to improve our normal temperament and character. This may turn out to be the ultimate artificial paradise, but I doubt it: similar claims were once made for cocaine, heroine, morphine and numerous barbiturates and related drugs.
A surer, safer and cheaper route to a minds altering experience would be to read Kip S Thorne’s Black Holes and Time Warps (Picador, 20 [pounds]) or Michio Kaku’s Hyperspace (Oxford University Press, 16.99 [pounds]). Both take the reader on a tour d’horizon of modern theoretical astrophysics and cosmology, leaving one grappling with such gravity-defying concepts as higher dimensions, multiple universes and warps in space and time.
The discovery by George Smoot and his team in April 1992 of slight variations in the temperature of ancient radiation left over from the Big Bang caused a huge stir. Sensational front-page headlines were soon followed by “the largest deal in the history of publishing”. according to Marcus Chown in Afterglow of Creation (Arrow, 5.99 [pounds]), a slender but informative book that focuses on the personalities as well as the science behind the hype. The outcome was Wrinkles in Time (Little, Brown, 18.99 [pounds]) by Smoot and Keay Davidson. But as an account of modem astronomy, it is bettered by the more lucid Ripples in the Cosmos (W H Freeman, 16.99 [pounds]) by Michael Rowan-Robinson.
Back on Earth. readers of Richard Fortey’s The Hidden Landscape (Pimlico, 14 [pounds]) can relax on an armchair tour through the geology and geological history of Britain. Fortey is an eloquent and sensitive companion, delighting in unearthing links between geological diversity, human geography, flora and fauna. This year’s most fascinating animal book, incidentally, is without doubt Paul Hillyard’s The Book of the Spider (Hutchinson, 16.99 [pounds].
Connections are also revealed in Murray Gell-Mann’s The Quark and the Jaguar (Little, Brown, 18.99 [pounds]) and in Jack Cohen and lan Stewart’s The Collapse of Chaos (Viking, 18 [pounds]). Gell-Mann, a Nobel prizewinner in physics, applies his broad erudition to explain the relationship between the simple (a quark inside an atom) and the complex (an animal prowling the jungle). But how complexity arises is really the wrong question, say Cohen and Stewart, who believe it is far more interesting to ask, given all the complexity out there, why simple structures exist at all.
Finally, as they’re currently all the rage, it might do your street cred some good to read a book about computer networks. In The Virtual Community (Secker and Warburg, 18.99 [pounds]). Howard Rheingold outlines the power and potential of global computer communication, ranging from lonely-hearts clubs to on-line scientific conferences. The book as we know it may soon be dead, after all.
The home improvement industry has made great strides in improving its environmental image in the last decade. Manufacturing processes are safer, packaging has been reduced, and the use of recycled materials is growing. But one industry issue remains environmentally supercharged: the harvesting of timber.
As wooded areas dwindle and greater numbers of plant and animal species become endangered because of it, lumber-product companies have come under increasing scrutiny about how they obtain the wood needed to make the products we want. Communities protest the cutting of old-growth trees, activists work to foil tree harvesters, and the public. is presented with a man-versus-nature image which belies its real complexity.
To explain its side of the issue to the public the lumber industry wages a continuous public relations campaign. Among the monies its ends is a significant portion dedicated to influence the impressionable minds of American schoolchildren. For the past two decades, timber companies have taken their message to the schools in a variety of ways. While the timber industry s not the only industry to do so, it leads the pack in terms of sheer numbers of groups sending materials to schools. Why target children?
Andrew Davies, a spokesperson for Greenpeace, the environmental activist group, says industry factions see students “as an advertising audience and the classroom provides a captive audience.” The fact that most school systems face significant budget restrictions each year leaves them especially vulnerable to corporate offers.
“As education budgets get squeezed, schools are all too grateful for free materials,” says Tim Hermach, president of the Eugene, OR-based Native Forests Council, an environmental activist group focused on eliminating clear-cutting in native forests. Industry has the resources to accommodate those needs.”
Opening the door wider is the fact that schools do not generally designate classes for environmental education. Ecological issues tend to be addressed on a limited basis during science classes. Expensive, nicely produced, packaged and easy-to-use materials — which often include videos, glossy booklets and worksheets — become very attractive to teachers who must often fend for themselves if they want to include environmental information in their classes.
“When teachers don’t have the time to seriously look into environmental education materials, those shiny packages from corporations look very attractive,” say Greenpeace’s Davies. He says his group is often asked to speak at schools, and, as a result, Greenpeace members seek out schools willing to allow guest speakers on environmental issues.
Each side, however, claims the other is better represented in the schools:
Environmental groups make the claim that as much as 70% of U.S. schools’ environmental information is from the lumber industry.
However, Timm Locke, a former spokesperson for the Western Wood Products Association (WWPA), says “probably 90% of the environmental education materials available to schools comes from special-interest environmental groups.” He claims the lumber industry is “having trouble getting into the schools.’
Similarly, a recent North American Wholesale Lumber Association newsletter article stated that “the overwhelming extreme environmental opinions far outnumber any data supplied to teachers from the lumber industry.”
The battle for a spot in the curriculum begins each school year with hundreds of 91 folders, books and neatly packaged videos sent by mail to educators across the country. One who has received many such mailings is Louisville KY-based educator Betsy Settles, one of the few public-school teachers dedicated specifically to environmental education.
Settles, who teaches Kentucky Country Day School (KCDS) students in kindergarten, second, third, fourth, 11th and 12th grades, takes the time to sort through the piles of unsolicited mail from corporations and green groups to weed out those slanted toward one extreme or the other. Some materials portray a “doom and gloom” scenario about the environment, she says. Others claim they help the environment by cutting trees in areas with high fire potential.
Ultimately, it’s up to the teachers to decide what’s fair to present to students,” says Settles. Environmental guidelines for teachers, she adds, are often poorly defined or not defined at all. When they do exist, they usually differ b\. state, district and even by school.
One message campaign aimed at elementary school-aged children debuted in 1993 in the form of a nine-minute video called House-Where Why arid How: A Child’s Guide to the Origins of Everyday Stuff. Children in fourth through sixth grades were shown the video, which was produced to “help children understand the links between raw materials and items in their daily lives,” according to the box.
From the personalized vantage point of a tree, the narrator takes students through the process of the tree becoming a wood product used in the construction of a home, relaying a Comforting, pro-industry message. The video was sponsored by WWPA, the American Forest and Paper Association, the Southern Forest Products Association and the APA — The Engineered Wood Association.
According to Locke, the former spokesperson, the company that produced the video “brings to the table, something our industry cannot buy — a direct line into 5,000 school districts nationwide and access to millions of school kids.”
Officials estimate that up to 30 million students and teachers mill have seen the video by the end of the 1998 school year.
Another teaching program, sponsored by International Paper, targets children with its Conserving America’s Forests Teaching, Kit.” The collection of activities, quizzes and take-home experiments relays the message that forest-product companies help the environment by leaving “strips of forest along well-traveled roads” and that they practice sound “tree firming” methods that safely, manage and maintain tree growth. According to some educators., the kit, while extensive, fails to explain the complexities of tree harvesting and present issues in the a fair way.
Common environmental topics covered by corporate packages for schools — tree identification, wildlife preservation, forest managements, log harvesting and clear-cutting — are often deftly presented as a mix of fact and opinion, say some educators. Individual teachers — typicaly in need of the materials — must make decisions about what they think is the most useful and accurate.
It’s this process that groups like the Oakland, CA-base Center for Commercial-Free Public Education (CCFPE) wishes to remove from the classroom. The CCFPE sponsors the UNPLUG campaign to prevent commercialism in public schools. UNPLUG promotes the use of scientific methods of teaching without or with very minimal corporate sponsorships.
“Just because a program has a corporate sponsor, doesn’t make it bad”‘ says Tamara Schwarz, CCFPE program coordinator. “But corporate involvement should not include commercial advertising.” In the case of lumber companies, she says, advertising often uses what she calls “greenwashing” methods, which subtly suggest that corporate goals should prevail over those of environmentalists.
A main reason for the existence of the UNPLUG program is that, in the complex world of environmental issues, it’s not easy to tell where education ends and advocacy begins. Educators like Settles know “there has to be a balance between the environment and the economy.” She adds, however, that it’s often difficult to decide which information is fair and which is slanted. Settles, a 31-year veteran educator, says youngsters are vulnerable and need to receive information that won’t skew their views.
“If it is terribly biased, kids are going to pick it up,” she says. We have to be careful about how we present it.”
Shirley Watt Ireton, environmental education coordinator for the Arlington, VA-based National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), agrees. “Balance is the number-one problem,” she says. “Balancing the environment with economics, science and sociological issues in a holistic approach is the only way to be successful.” The balanced approach
Most educators contacted for this article say neither environmentalists nor industry groups get better exposure for their messages in public schools. According to Ed McCrea, executive director of Washington, D.C.-based North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE), most students exposed to environmental education get a middle-of-the-road” scientific approach and use materials created by those “with no axe to grind.”
At the forefront of the drive for impartial environmental education is a program called Project Learning Tree (PLT), considered one of the most respected, unbiased environmental education programs available to teachers. PLT, sponsored by current environmental and science educators, resource professionals and the forest-products industry, presents a program in which children are taught “how to think about the environment, not what to think about it,” says Kathy McGlauflin, PLT director.
One of the most, widely used environmental education programs, PLT has reached 500,000 teachers and an estimated 20 million students since 1976. The organization sets up workshops in neighborhoods and encourages teachers to attend.
Other groups have also taken great care in presenting environmental teaching materials in an objective way. Any Theisen, director of distance learning for the University, of Minnesota’s Bell Museum of Natural History and executive producer of Bell Live — a live program linked to schools nationwide once each year — says keeping slanted views out of the learning process is critical. Bell Live attempts to flesh out both sides of the issues by carefully weeding out extreme views of the clashing sides.
Bell Live, which includes three one-hour segments, takes viewers to a clear-acut stand, an area logged several years ago, a selectively managed area of a forest and an old-growth stand. Without rhetoric or opinions about whether clear-cutting is good, bad or otherwise, the broadcast allows students to decide on their own, she says. The same goes for its treatment of managed forests and other methods used by forest-product manufacturers.
“You have to look at the big picture,” Theised says. “You have to take both sides of the issue. Kids are smart enough to figure it out for themselves.”
The satellite/cable broadcast reached an estimated 20,000 students in fourth through ninth grades in each of the last few broadcasts. Now, with state funding and a link to all Minnesota public schools, the program will reach an estimated 287,000 students during its next running.